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Sleeping in the Storm

Sleeping in the Storm

You and I are why there is creation. Why there are blue skies, ocean waves, dolphins, and giraffes. We are the reason God put His story in every living thing and in the stars and sky. You and I, formed from the elements of earth by God’s hands and brought alive by the breath of God Himself. You and I are God’s wildest dreams.

Yet everything in our lives pits itself against our understanding this one thing—the deep, abiding, never-ending love God has for us. For each one of us. The truth that our lives matter more to God than the death of His only, beloved Son. God expressed His love by giving His heart, His Son for us. We are His delight. We are who He hungers to know as dearly loved children. As His dearly loved children.

Jesus knew His Father’s love for Him and He was secure. Jesus trusted the word from His Father’s mouth and the depths of His Father’s love for Him. Recently, I’ve been seeing a picture when I pray. I see Jesus asleep in a boat in a storm. I see the disciples gripping the railing of the boat watching the storm. Greatly afraid. I see Jesus resting in peace.

And then I see the boat, the waves, and the storm as from a distance and I see underneath the boat the hand of God cradling it. Even in the storm, the Hand of Jesus’ Father holds the boat safely.

I know that God is showing me His heart of love for me. And His path of obedience as well. To have faith in Him, I have to be looking at Him, not at the storm.

I am a seeker hungry to seek God. To walk in ever-increasing faith and trust in His goodness. There will be storms, but He is big enough, good enough to get me where I’m going and, if I’m abiding in Him there are times I will be sleeping, in complete peace, while my boat bumps along in the hand of God, in the middle of a storm.

The Storm
I know I seem stuck on the storm metaphor these days but so much of what I feel is like big weather. An uncontrollable force that changes familiar landscapes into unrecognizable vistas. Winds that leave brokenness in their path. From here I sit and wait to hear from God. He does not change. It is the same day to Him whether it looks good or bad to me. He is the same provider, protector, source of all good gifts whether it is sunny or stormy in my world.

His intentions are always the same. To bless me and you. To be with us. To live with us in our world not perhaps in the way I see but big, beyond understanding. His plan for a peace that makes no sense. That lets me sleep in the boat. In the storm. Under the shadow of His wings is all and more we’ll ever need. Beauty we cannot see without Him. Life that cannot die because His life is so big it cannot be quenched and it is within us.

My understanding of Him is the understanding of a five-year-old who fights against the voice of a loving parent to play in the street or with fire. Incomplete understanding at best but dangerous and deadly at worst. Self, pride, or fear will always take me on a misdirected adventure. Away from the grand, glorious adventure God has for me with Him. To a place of beauty, peace, and joyful exploits.

Into the Storm
Hearing the storm, I didn’t think about adventures. I curled up into a pill bug ball breathing quietly until all would pass. But then I felt Jesus take my hand. He pulled me up, laughing, and we ran together. We ran into the storm not away from it. What felt prudent was not the way of God for me. Facing the storm with Jesus at my side was not an expression of bravery it was one of trust.

I knew running into the storm with Jesus was not dangerous. It was the safest place I could be.


Psalm 91: 1-2 TPT

When you sit enthroned under the shadow of Shaddai,
you are hidden in the strength of God Most High.

He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me,
the only God for me, and my great confidence.


PAINTING CREDIT

‘My times are still in your hands’ ©2011 Lynda Owen-Hussey. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Lynda’s Art


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Lost Correspondence: A Glorious Invitation

Lost Correspondence: A Glorious Invitation

God sent me a Grand Invitation. It was to a banquet in my honor. To a table He set with beauty from His pure heart of love, thinking of me.
He was excited as He sent out the invitation. Excited that I would come and we could sit feasting together talking of everything and anything. He yearning to tell me stories I’d never heard. Hoping I would tell Him the dreams I’d never shared before. So He sent me this beautiful invitation covered with His hope and longing and love.

It came to me on a day that was dark. In the middle of a noisy storm. And I, busy closing windows and shutters. Busy listening to the news on how to prepare for what was coming. I, busy crying out in prayer for God to save us from the storm, didn’t even look at the invitation and then forgot all about it.

Until one day I looked up and caught a glimpse of a beautiful corner sticking out from underneath a stack of problems. Curious, I pulled on it. And in wonder at its loveliness, I opened it. The scent of heaven’s flowers came rolling out as I tugged the invitation out from the envelope. I felt the longing of Jesus’ love for me surround me. I felt His sincere desire that I come to the feast He laid for me. He was waiting every morning for me to arrive. Morning after morning had gone by while He faithfully waited.

The day I finally showed up began a joyous conversation with the creator and designer of everything. The One who knows me most yet still loves me best. The food He offered tasted like nothing I’d ever had before. I savored it and pondered looking into Jesus’ face, into His laughing eyes as He waited to hear what I would say.

We talked about so many things. I would ask a question then He would begin a conversation about something completely different. His words filled me inside. In places I didn’t know were empty. I had a glorious morning with Jesus. He didn’t even mention the current storm. He didn’t even seem to notice that it was there. Being with Him was so absorbing I didn’t notice it either. And as I turned to go back to my day, I heard Him speak with such longing in His voice. He said two things that didn’t seem to fit together, yet I knew they were both true. And they’ve changed my life.

He said, “Take me with you as you go—I never leave you.” And then He spoke the invitation, “I’ll be waiting for you right here. Come back in the morning and we’ll feast again.”

And now in the midst of the turmoil, I don’t really see a storm. It appears as a blip in time and space where the cosmos goes on forever. Where the majesty of God is so compelling I cannot look away to bother seeing what noisy thing is behind me.

His love for me, for each one of us is complete and all we need. He has come issuing a grand, glorious invitation to come close, closer than we’ve ever been. He is longing for our presence. He is waiting.

 


Psalms 27:8
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

 First Love Kari Jobe

Choosing Hope

Choosing Hope

There have always been only two stories: the one that God speaks and the one that darkness tells. Each day I get to choose which one I will focus on. Which one I will believe and live by. God’s story is harder to hear. I have to lean in to know what He’s saying. I have to dust off my Bible and read the story of hope and love that He brought generations ago. I have to remind myself that He doesn’t lie. That He doesn’t change. That His story lasts forever. Darkness tells me a different story. It prophesies death and destruction. Today this story screams loudly everywhere I look.

There are also only two kingdoms and I get to choose, each day, where I will live. Which one I will align my thoughts, my words, and my prayers with—which one will fuel my life? Whose words, Satan or God’s, will I believe? Whichever words I believe are true are the ones that begin to create in my life.

In the beginning, just after life exploded in beauty upon the earth, God’s enemy entered the garden to change the destiny of creation. He came armed with a lie. A lie that questioned what God had said to Adam and Eve. A lie that challenged God’s words and spoke of a different future to entice Eve into believing God had deceived her.  That surely they would not die if they ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Surely they would only be like God. This story, this lie, was a rational one. One that offered an outcome that seemed reasonable, obvious. Eve believed it bringing death to us all.

Today, I hear two stories: one of evil taking over the world and one of Jesus becoming king. My choice is as basic as Eve’s. Do I trust and hope in who God says He is for me or do I believe the power of darkness as demonstrated around me in violence, hatred, and fear? Who do I really believe has control of the outcome?

I don’t understand either story very well. The dark prophecies have many variations but always result in anger and fear. The words of Jesus, who is the Host of Heaven’s armies and our returning king, result in peace and hope. Beyond reason, I choose Jesus’ story. Even when I don’t understand. Even when I can see no evidence. My hope is not in what I can see, my hope is in who God is and what He has promised. What He gave up to have me call Him Father. My hope is in His word that does not change. That says He’s given me a future. That every thought He has for me is good. That He is the One who cares for me. Deeply. With extravagance. Completely unfairly. He loves me beyond what good or bad I’ve ever done. He does not lie, and He does not change.

The story God tells me is that I am His wildest dream. That every color, every animal, every bit of singing music in creation is for me. Given so I would see Him in His wondrous glory and begin to know Him. His story is one of outrageous sacrifice, offering His precious, beloved son as a ransom to ensure my freedom from the kingdom of darkness. To ensure I could become a child of God, a friend of God with nothing standing between us. What an absurd love. He didn’t wait until I was good or even intending to be good. He took all that I was not, and all raging rebellion that I was, and went to the cross for me.  

That story is the one that ignites my faith to believe whatever He says is true. That He is my protection, my hope, my song. Convincing me the noise, the smoke, the violence of God’s enemy in my nation and other nations is a lie. That somewhere, somehow, God will arise and His enemies will be scattered. That some way the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our God. That the earth, its fulness, and everyone in it is the Lord’s because He made them. He does not lie. He does not change.

One day while I was waiting on God, I saw the answer to a prayer I’d been praying for a long time. I was so excited, yet as I got up the next morning I wondered if what I saw was a promise or if it was real. Was it happening now or was it going to happen in the future? I asked the Lord, “Is this real or is it a promise?” His words came almost immediately, rolling loudly through my heart. He said, “What’s the difference?” Like He didn’t know. Like they were the very same thing to Him. Telling me clearly that when He promises a thing it is real. To God, all His promises are real. His word is forever true. It’s up to me to believe it. To speak it. To pray it. To stand and say out loud, as a praise, what He has said. To let it live large in my thoughts. To offer thanks, in faith, that He never lies. He is always good. His mercies are never ending. And He loves me with an unbelievable, unending love.

The difference between the two stories being told today is that one is true and the other is a lie.

Please turn off the news, find your Bible and start talking to the One who loves you more than life. I suggest starting in Psalms or John. God’s heart for you and His story of your future will capture you and give you hope for each new day.


2 Cor 1:20 NIV
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Numbers 23:19 ESV
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Is 55:11 NIV
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.

Psalm 23-24 NKJV
Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person.
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Default Position of Heart

Default Position of Heart

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This morning the Lord spoke to me about my default position in a crisis. He let me know that what I choose is very, very important.

God is the only God who, when I look into His eyes, I understand who I am. He gives me a revelation of how greatly He values me. How treasured I am. He makes me alive. His life fills me with love, with light, with hope, with joy. I don’t get that when I look in the mirror. I only see what’s wrong, what’s missing, and what’s broken.

When I come to Him, He does not show me what’s wrong or missing. He simply begins to fill me with Himself and there is nothing wrong or missing or broken in Him. He shows me I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Beauty for my ashes. The oil of joy for my sadness.

When I come to Him, He does not show me what’s wrong or missing or broken in you, either. He shows me His great joy and delight in you. He shows me His heart that is huge with love for you. He shows me His great faith that you will come closer, with a whole heart, to know Him. Love believes all things. There is faith in God. He planted it in us. His faith that we would respond to Him is what led Jesus to the cross. His compelling love is why Jesus laid down His life so the Father would have His heart’s delight, which is us. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son.

When I’m challenged in my life, my default response is to start searching my heart, listing my failures, recounting my sins, seeking my place of repentance. I cannot see His heart. I do not know His word about me or my situation. I cannot feel His love. Condemnation and confusion become my food. In a crisis, I rarely see His heart for others. Usually, strife and frustration come into my relationships. Peace and joy flee. This position of looking to my self, leaning on my strength or understanding is not God’s way for me when I am in trouble.

My other default in a crisis is to look for an enemy. I begin looking for what the enemy is doing in my life. Questioning, searching him out, focusing on him instead of Jesus. Stepping off the narrow path of God’s leading, I venture into a murky, smelly swamp looking for the evil force I know is hiding to ambush me. I think if I can identify him, I can conquer him. Shushing God when He tries to get my attention saying, “ Just a minute, can’t you see I’m busy here? I’ll be right with you,” as I continue my quest for understanding the swamp.

Neither one of these responses leads to life. The only response I should ever have is to run into my heavenly Father’s arms. To seek Jesus. To wait for the still small voice to speak. Because I cannot know He’s working in me through the crisis if I do not go to Him. Sometimes He wants to teach me strategy. Sometimes it’s faith and patience. Sometimes it’s to reveal how big and good He is. Or to show me how much authority I have in Jesus. And sometimes He wants to tell me something about Him I never even dreamed of before. Something beyond my understanding.

I forget that everything in my life is an invitation to a conversation with God. He waits for me to show up. To confirm I’m choosing Him. That my heart is focused on His heart. That He matters to me. That I will listen. I will wait humbly before Him for power from on high. Submitting to God and resisting the enemy driving him out. The Father sees in the darkness so I don’t really need to. I simply need to listen for God to tell me what I’m to do. What I’m to resist. What I’m to cast out. Where I need repentance. Where I need worship.

I can only get what I need from spending time with God. His answers are bigger than what’s inside of me. He is of heaven and I have no frame of reference for what’s in Him. I can only see what’s in Him when I stop, ask, seek, and knock. My need is a temporary affliction. His answer builds a permanent, unshakable foundation under my feet. Someone said that Jesus was a master at changing the conversation. The apostles would ask about something and Jesus would start talking about a completely different topic. He does that to me. I have a need. I ask for a provision. He starts talking about flowers, or a city on a hill, or water faucets.

I have to turn the care of my situation over to Him before I can let my curiosity loose to follow His new topic. When I seek to see Him, looking down this narrow path, I look up and He’s there. When I see Him, I see everything I need, every single thing is in Him. HE is what I need. And He dwells in me. I have everything I need, I just didn’t see it or believe it or experience it. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of the unseen. With faith and patience, I inherit and experience what is already mine because He is mine. I am my beloved’s and He is mine.

The Mystery of You

The Mystery of You

This mystery of you and I is a quest to find and unravel clues of our uniqueness. To discover God in the evidence of His intention–in nature, in creation, in us.

Our God is a spiritual being and so are we, but we don’t always see how to navigate the land of spiritual life. Malevolent forces push us, stealing truth. Shifting our focus, stealing the wonder of who God is so we never find the wonder of who we are. Darkness batters us and we cannot see the power of God.  We cannot see the power of us. The power of goodness, of love, of faith, of beauty. The loudest, most angry, manipulative people are the ones who are the emptiest of God’s beautiful truth.

We, the seers, are also called to be the Speakers of this truth. Created with power to speak to others of their light and life and blessing and call it forth. It is only dormant. It is not dead. Like the dry bones that became an army, empty people are filled with beautiful seeds of potential. All the seeds God planted in them can be watered by us. We can speak to the beautiful things we see in another. Speak life. Whisper God’s secrets of love and glory and wonder that is in them – that is their true design. We can ask God for His words to pour over them. The water from heaven that flows through our mouths, drips from our lips, is powerful to raise people from the dead into an army of lovers of God. We are in a love war. A spiritual battle. For the unveiling of glory, wonder and beauty in the earth.

When all we see is what’s missing. Lacking. Wrong in another, then that’s all they can see too. We must be believers in them. In God’s purposes for them. We must see beyond, into God’s truth for them. And speak it. We speak this mystery of their beauty to them in words of blessing. We speak it with them and for them to God in prayer. Love demands we act on their behalf.

The ministry of reconciliation is more than issuing an invitation, it is standing on behalf of the one and speaking light and life and blessing until the daystar rises in them. Until they see with new eyes. Until they rise in newness of life. Until the glory rises on them in power as they become the sons and daughters of their Heavenly Father, Abba.

Jealousy, another malicious force that keeps us from seeing the beauty in another, is a manifestation of fear. It is the core fear that we are nothing. That we do not matter. It lives loudly and drives mercilessly because we do not see and do not know our own wonderful design. It’s based on the ugliest of lies.

We are each, full of a unique specialness that is ours alone. The true mystery quest is to find God so we can see ourselves in our true glory and wonder. So we can understand we own this specialness, then we have power to shine.

We can help each other on this journey. We can call forth the light in each other. Ignore the dark, broken, unfinished parts and speak God’s truth that grows big and heals, finishes and completes life in us. In our inward parts. God’s truth that expands outward, filling the earth with glory. Love. Beauty.

God’s story is glorious, majestic, powerful and full of life that cannot die. It is for us and in us. His glory touches us. Fills us. And we are glorious, too. Everything you need to see about the mystery of you is in Jesus’ eyes. Seek His face and you will see the glory, beauty, and truth that is you. Never forget that you are God’s wildest dream and He always delights in you.

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